Football Is in His Blood
Born on May 2, 1975, Beckham is the son of kitchen fitter David Edward Alan “Ted” and hair stylist Sandra Georgina. While an ordinary East London family of a humble background, Beckham and his sisters, Lynne Georgina and Joanne Louise, shared in their parents’ passion from an early age.
Beckham’s parents were avid Manchester United supporters who would travel a massive 200 miles from London to the stadium of Old Trafford to see their team in action. It wouldn’t take long for Beckham to inherit his parents’ love for soccer.
Proving His Worth
Hungry to make a career out of soccer, Beckham attended one of the Bobby Charlton Soccer Schools in Manchester. There, he won their National Skills Competition, affording him the opportunity to attend a training session with Spanish giants FC Barcelona.
As Beckham’s talent shone on the field, he also made sure to introduce himself to his favorite club, appearing as a mascot for Manchester United for a game against West Ham United in 1986. At the same time, Beckham’s search for a youth academy was on.
Establishing His Intent
For a while, Beckham played for a local team that was coached by his father called Ridgeway Rovers. While it gave him a chance to hone his skills, only a serious football academy would provide him the platform to launch a professional soccer career.
After attending trials with Leyton Orient and Norwich City, Beckham was accepted to Tottenham Hotspur’s School of Excellence, however, he never represented them in a match. After playing in the Brimsdown Rovers’ youth team for two years, Beckham received the opportunity of a lifetime.
Manchester United Comes Knocking
During his time at Chingford County High School, Beckham recalled telling his teachers repeatedly of his ambition to become a professional soccer player. Having already established a name for himself with his past success, Beckham would soon grab the attention of his favorite team.
In 1991, Beckham signed as a trainee for Manchester United. There, he rubbed shoulders with other would-be Man Utd stars such as Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, and Paul Scholes. But despite being surrounded by talent, it wouldn’t take Beckham long to stand out from the crowd.
Climbing Up the Ranks
During his time in the Man Utd youth academy, Beckham knew that he had to prove his worth in order to be considered for a place in the first team upon coming of age.
Just a year into his career, he did just that, helping Man Utd to lift the 1992 FA Youth Cup. What’s more, he scored a goal in the first leg of Man Utd’s final win against Crystal Palace. It was with that performance that Beckham proved his suitability for first-team action.
On September 23rd, 1992, Beckham made his full-team debut for Man Utd, coming on as a substitute in a League Cup game against Brighton & Hove Albion. While he continued making regular appearances for the reserve team, manager Sir Alex Ferguson would soon provide Beckham with his breakthrough.
On January 23rd, 1993, Beckham signed his first professional contract with Manchester United. After reaching another FA Youth Cup final and winning the league with the reserve team, Ferguson decided that Beckham was finally ready to take the next step.
Showing His Drive
In 1994, Beckham made his first full appearance for the Red Devils, starting in a League Cup game against Port Vale. That December, Beckham would have a night to remember, making his UEFA Champions League debut for Man Utd against Turkish club Galatasaray.
This was the night that Beckham left his mark, scoring his first-ever professional goal in what was a 4-0 victory. While not enough to save Man Utd from elimination in the group stages, Beckham’s performance on the night went a long way in helping him prove his worth.
Going on Loan
While he may have proven to be a talented youngster, Ferguson did not yet feel that Beckham was ready to be a regular starter in the Man Utd lineup. In order to help him polish his skills, Beckham was sent on loan to third-division team Preston North End.
Beckham got his Preston career off to an impressive start, scoring twice in his first five games including a stunning goal from a corner kick. Naturally, his parent club would not allow his talent to go unnoticed.
Return to Old Trafford
Upon returning from his loan in Preston, Beckham made just four appearances for Man Utd in the 1994-95 season. While there seemed to be little place in the United line-up for fledglings such as Beckham, this would soon change.
After the team missed out on the league title by a single point, several major players including Paul Ince, Mark Hughes, and Andrei Kanchelskis left the club following this heartbreaking end to the season. Rather than acquire big-name replacements like many would have expected, Ferguson had other plans.
Sir Alex Ferguson placed much trust in his young players, including Beckham and his former youth academy teammates Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, and brothers Gary and Phil Neville. Rather than purchase big-name stars to replace the players who departed the club, Ferguson decided to trust in his hard-working youngsters.
Already viewed as a controversial decision, a 3–1 defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day of the Premier League season saw a wave of criticism being directed at Ferguson’s decision. Over time, however, his faith would be rewarded.
Establishing as Man Utd’s right midfielder of choice, Beckham quickly established his reputation as a playmaker thanks to his precise crossing. He also proved to be a free-kick expert and decent goalscorer, grabbing seven goals and five assists in 33 league games.
While 10 points behind Newcastle at New Year’s, Man Utd’s young team, nicknamed Fergie’s Fledglings, clawed their way back to win the 1996 Premier League title. If that wasn’t enough, they won the FA Cup as well. Little did Beckham know that this was just the start.
A Spark Ignites
1996 was a special year for Beckham for several reasons. On the pitch, Beckham scored a goal from halfway against Wimbledon on the first day of the season – a moment that fans cherish to this day. He was also awarded the number 10 jersey at the club that Mark Hughes had vacated a season before.
Off the field, however, Beckham attracted the attention of Victoria Adams, a member of the pop girl group Spice Girls. Naturally, it wouldn’t take long for “Posh Spice” to grab Beckham’s attention.
Second Title and Life With Posh Spice
In 1997, Beckham helped Man Utd retain the Premier League title, being voted PFA Young Player of the Year by his peers as a result of his heroics. Surprisingly, this wasn’t the biggest news to break out that year.
Viewed as a perfect match, “Posh and Becks,” as they’d been dubbed by the media, had hit it off. So much so, that Beckham proposed to Victoria in 1998. Soon enough, the couple would provide even more news for the gossip-craving tabloids to feed on.
With the 1998 World Cup coming up, Beckham was fighting for a spot in the England national team. Having represented England during the qualifiers, Beckham would once again play for the Three Lions in the Tournoi de France, a warmup tournament before the World Cup.
Upon winning this small tournament, England included Beckham in the final squad for the tournament. While he did not start in either of England’s first two group games, his appearance against Columbia was one to remember.
Bend it Like Beckham
Beckham’s time to shine came when England was awarded a free kick against Colombia from 30 yards out. He whipped in the ball to score a stunning goal to hand England a 2-0 victory and progression to the knockout stages.
Sadly, Beckham’s World Cup would end when he received a red card for a heavy tackle during the second-round game against Argentina. With the Three Lions losing on penalties, it seemed as if life couldn’t get any worse for Beckham. Still, this was far from the end of the road.
Beckham took England’s elimination from the World Cup particularly hard, especially since much of the media and the public directed blame for the Three Lions’ loss in his direction. Still, with the new club season underway, it was back to work as usual for Beckham.
That season, the Premier League title race was down to the wire, with Man Utd and Arsenal still neck-and-neck on the final day of the season. With United set to face Tottenham Hotspur, Beckham and Fergie’s Fledglings knew what was required of them.
Winning the Treble
With a curling strike, Beckham helped Man Utd to a 2-1 victory, securing a one-point lead over Arsenal and, most importantly, the Premier League title in the process. What’s more, the Red Devils were still in contention for the FA Cup and the coveted UEFA Champions League.
Astonishingly, Man Utd went on to win the FA Cup before coming from behind to defeat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. Having been at his lowest a year earlier, Beckham had reached the summit of world football.
Tying the Knot
Aside from his success on the pitch, Beckham’s family life was coming together as well. Following his successful proposal to Victoria, the couple welcomed the birth of their son, Brooklyn.
On July 4th, 1999, Becks and Posh got married, with Beckham’s teammate and friend Gary Neville serving as best man. What’s more, the couple’s four-month-old son was the ring bearer. With the grandiose wedding making headlines due to its extravagance and mammoth price tag, this was just the start of the media storm surrounding the couple.
Captaining His Country
Following England’s disappointing exit from Euro 2000, Beckham was named captain of the national team, with new coach Sven Goran Eriksson agreeing with his predecessor’s decision as the Three Lions looked to the future.
England’s qualifying campaign for the 2002 World Cup was an impressive one, which included a historic 5-1 victory over Germany. During the final qualifying game, Beckham scored a stunning free-kick against Greece to secure qualification, thereby completing his transformation from villain of 1998 to national hero.
Landing in Troubled Waters
While Beckham signed a $22 million contract with Man Utd in 2001 to remain at the club, his career with the Red Devils soon turned sour. In April 2002, Beckham found himself on the end of a nasty tackle that broke a bone in his left foot. This injury saw his season come to a premature end.
After recovering, Beckham lost his regular place in the team. But even as he geared up to recover his spot, a harrowing incident would occur from which there was no turning back.
Following a bitter defeat to rivals Arsenal, Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly kicked a cleat that struck Beckham in the face, requiring him to get stitches. Whether intentional or not, it appeared as if Beckham was no longer content with life at Old Trafford.
With the transfer window fast approaching, Man Utd made headlines as they decided to approach Barcelona to discuss the sale of Beckham to the Spanish giants. With the two clubs even going so far as to publicly announce the agreement, a last-minute U-turn disrupted the deal.
Becoming a Galáctico
Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez caught wind of the deal, swooping in with a competing deal to swoop Beckham out of Barcelona’s arms. Upon signing for the club, Beckham joined the team on their pre-season Asian tour, drawing in enormous crowds due to his popularity.
Playing alongside legends such as Raúl, Zinedine Zidane, and Roberto Carlos, Beckham elevated Real Madrid’s global brand. Unfortunately, the star-studded team struggled to hit their stride. Following several managerial changes, the team hoped to have finally found its winning formula.
Having won the 2003-04 Spanish Super Cup, Real Madrid was hungry for more, particularly when it came to La Liga and UEFA Champions League success. Unfortunately, the team continued to be overshadowed by bitter rivals Barcelona, finishing as runners-up in 2005 and 2006.
While desperate to help Los Blancos to trump their rivals, Beckham had to turn his attention to the international stage, with the 2006 World Cup fast approaching. Could England improve on their performance from four years earlier?
Leading the Three Lions
By providing a cross that led to the only goal in England’s 1-0 win over Paraguay and assisting both goals in a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago, Beckham proved to be key to England’s success.
In the round of 16, Beckham scored a free-kick to send the Three Lions through to the quarter-finals, thus becoming the first British player to score in three World Cups. Sadly, it was not to be for the England captain, as his team lost on penalties to Portugal in the next round.
Following England’s elimination, Beckham shocked the world as he announced his decision to step down as team captain. “I feel the time is right to pass on the armband as we enter a new era,” Beckham explained. But while his England career may have been winding down, Beckham’s life at Real Madrid was about to get a little more interesting.
The following season, Beckham finally managed to win the elusive La Liga title. But just as life in Madrid was improving, another deal of a lifetime was on the table.
Stunned by Beckham’s recent performances and hungry to elevate the status of American soccer, MLS club LA Galaxy decided that the time had come to make a move that would stir up a media tidal wave.
The club approached Real Madrid to acquire Beckham, offering the midfielder a whopping five-year, $250 million deal. While not as high profile a club, he and Victoria knew that a move to the United States could skyrocket both of their career opportunities. Soon, they and their children were spotted stateside.
Welcome to America
Despite Real Madrid’s best effort to keep Beckham, the now A-list celebrity decided to agree to the monumental move. In fact, Beckham’s move to LA Galaxy caused such a media storm that the club sold 5,000 season tickets within 48 hours of the announcement of Beckham’s signing.
By moving to America, Beckham’s influence expanded well beyond the world of sports. He soon signed a deal to launch his fragrance line in the United States, earning $13.7 million as a result. On the pitch, however, Beckham would suffer a significant blow.
Conquering the MLS
Beckham’s start to life in the MLS was a rocky one, hampered by a slew of injuries. Sadly, it was his Achilles tendon injury that would rule him out of the 2010 World Cup.
Still, Beckham rose from the ashes, helping LA Galaxy to win back-to-back MLS Cups in 2011 and 2012. But even as he lifted his club to the greatest achievements in its history, it was the waves that Beckham made off the pitch that truly elevated his celebrity status.
A Fashion Icon
Much like his wife, Beckham had become a fashion icon, signing a deal with fashion label H&M in 2012 to launch his own line of underwear with the brand. As part of the marketing campaign, six statues of Beckham wearing H&M underwear were erected in New York City, with others being placed in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Meanwhile, Beckham used his influence as a member of the British delegation campaigning for the United Kingdom’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics. Beckham helped to make the UK’s dream a reality.
For a Good Cause
In 2013, Beckham signed a five-month contract with the French club Paris Saint-Germain. Following the deal, Beckham announced that all of his earnings would be donated to a local children’s charity. He subsequently helped PSG to win the Ligue 1 title, meaning that he had won league titles in four different countries.
On May 16th, 2013, Beckham brought the sporting world to a standstill when he announced his retirement from soccer. Beckham would complete the season before bidding farewell to his beloved sport.
On May 18th, 2013, Beckham led PSG to a 3-1 win over Brest in his final-ever match. Substituted in the 80th minute, Beckham was given a standing ovation from the crowd as he made his way off the pitch and was embraced by his teammates as he emotionally waved farewell.
As he played his final game, Beckham wore cleats with the Union Jack on them, thus showing his national pride. Upon closer inspection, it appeared as if this was not the only surprise included in his footwear.
Stitched into the pair of cleats that Beckham wore during his last ever game were the names of his wife and children. As Beckham would explain after the game, family is always a priority in his life.
“I owe everything to Victoria and the kids, who have given me the inspiration and support to play at the highest level for such a long period,” Beckham stated, additionally thanking his parents for their sacrifices. Beckham became the UK’s richest athlete, with his family at his side, earning over $46 million annually.
Growing His Legacy
While his playing days may have been behind him, Beckham’s investment in soccer was far from finished. A year after his retirement, Beckham made headlines yet again as he exercised his option to buy an MLS expansion team for $25 million; a term in his LA Galaxy contract.
From that moment on, fans began to wonder what the name of his team would be, and more importantly, where it would be based. After four years of negotiations and planning, Beckham was ready to reveal his team to the world.
The New Kids on the Block
On September 5th, 2018, Beckham and his ownership group unveiled their team, Inter Miami CF, to the world. In addition to revealing the team crest and the management team, they revealed that the team would begin playing in the league in 2020.
As owner and club president, Beckham was president when his team made their official debut on March 1st. While an impressive feat, this was not the only foray that Beckham would make into soccer club ownership. Soon, he and his former Man Utd colleagues would reunite for something big.
Fergie’s Fledglings Live On
In January 2019, Beckham joined his former Man Utd teammates Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, and Ryan Giggs to purchase a minority share in English non-league club Salford City.
Not only did he become a part-owner of the club, but Beckham was also appointed the club’s director. But even as he continued his soccer journey, Beckham has found time to continue his charity work, continuing to be a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. If that wasn’t enough, he recently found a way to combine his two passions.
Returning to His Roots
In 2022, Beckham decided that the time had come to return to the place where it all began – the soccer fields of East London. Here, he’d combine his two passions, soccer and charity, in an effort to help future generations of soccer players.
The TV series, Save Our Squad With David Beckham, sees Beckham return to his childhood league, where he attempts to help struggling teams improve their results. More importantly, Beckham looks to inspire promising young talents to reach for their dreams, just as he did.
From his successful career with teams such as Manchester United and Real Madrid to his many hairstyles and acute fashion sense, few athletes are more instantly recognizable than David Beckham. Even off the soccer field, Beckham continues to make headlines, whether it’s due to his marriage to Victoria or his step into soccer club ownership. Here’s the remarkable story of how Beckham rose from his humble beginnings to global superstardom.